31 October 2004

Voters—It's Almost 2 November… Do You Know Where Your Polling Place Is?

Actually, as a couple of stories in various places have made all too clear, this is a nontrivial question. What it really reflects, more than anything else, is the idiotic attachment we have in this country to geographical voting patterns. Our geography in this country is screwed up to start with; for example, the true "community" of Philadelphia extends into New Jersey, but those whose houses are in New Jersey cannot vote on something that influences them—or, if they work in Philadelphia proper and commute, more than influences them. Similarly, we have an eighteenth-century attachment to "polling places." And so on.

The biggest problem that I can see, though, is that a lot of people simply cannot get away to vote, because (unlike almost all other Western nations) our Election Day is just another weekday. As a veteran, I find this somewhat offensive, as I put my butt on the line to protect the Constitution and its more-democratic-than-the-alternatives processes. It is, however, semidesignated in the Constitution—semidesignated in that federal elections are a Tuesday. Frankly, I'd rather give up 11 November as Veteran's Day and have Veteran's Day redesignated as a truly mandatory holiday (federal, state, and commercial) that just happens to fall on that Tuesday. That would honor my service, and the service of everyone else who ever has or ever will wear the uniform, far more than the date of a meaningless cease-fire treaty signed in a railroad car in 1918—particularly as that "war" was one we entered only after the end was virtually inevitable and didn't really accomplish much other than making a followup equally inevitable. (Yes, this time I will blame it on the French—there was a small possibility of avoiding Round II without the Treaty of Versailles.)

So that's my political rant for the weekend. Perhaps I should call it "A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Calendar of common People in America, from being a Burden to their Daycare Providers or Country; and for making it beneficial to the Public." Well, maybe not; I'm serious about this proposal.